Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Programming again

Recently I downloaded the latest version of Lazarus, the rapid application development tool that uses Free Pascal. It's a clone of Delphi but open source and cross platform. I've used it for hobby program development for the last few years, when I was no longer able to get free copies of Delphi. But now I actually prefer Lazarus to Delphi. It's like how Delphi used to be.

The Lazarus IDE
In Lazarus I have been making a few changes to my logging program for Elecraft transceivers, KComm. Programming again marks another milestone in my return to normality, though in all honesty the time it takes and the number of stupid mistakes I make show that my brain still isn't firing on all cylinders.

Why write my own logging program when there are so many good alternatives available? For one thing it is the same motivation that makes people build their own gear. For another, it allows me to use a program that works the way I want. If I want a certain feature then I get on and implement it. By limiting its use to the Elecraft community I avoid the troubles encountered by, say, the developers of Ham Radio Deluxe: the problem of dealing with thousands of users. There are probably only a handful of users of KComm, but that's all right because I'm mainly developing it for my own use.

KComm can speak Russian
An example of what writing my own software allows me to do can be seen in the screenshot above. KComm supports user choice of character set for digital modes. So that if someone sends me a message in Russian (for instance) I can see what they sent (and copy and paste it into Google Translate, since I don't speak Russian.)

This should not be taken as a sign that I will start writing new programs again. I'm just making a few changes to programs I use myself. I have downloaded the source code to the last released version of JT65-HF (which happens to have been developed in Lazarus too.) Perhaps one day I'll see if I can make a few tweaks to that!


PE4BAS, Bas said...

Hi Julian, it's great to have the ability to program these thing yourself. Wish could make my own logging program. I still can't find one that suits all my needs. So I stick to the old HRD V4. 73, Bas

Tim said...

Very interesting indeed! Thanks Julian.

Like you I might have a look at JT65-HF


VE3WDM said...

Julian, as already has been said great to see the programming is up and running between the ears again.....I would say your running on all 8 cylinders now......not very green but fantastic!!

Der SöR said...

Great - nice program - I tried to compile Kcomm with Lazarus 1.0.x but it fails due to mysterious errors-.

Like to see a great program for logging be developed again.

Have fun
73 Peter DF1LX

Julian Moss said...

How strange, Peter. It compiles here with that version. (I presume you were using Windows. I no longer have a Linux system so I haven't tried compiling it under Linux.)

Julian, G4ILO

Der SöR said...

Ok - thanks - I was really busy with QRL and setup of my new equipment (antenna and mast) that I missed your answer.

I will check my setup - and see, if I get some more time for start again,

73 Peter

Der SöR said...

No - it is somehow impossible - some units are missing - ok - I found them - but the a line for pskbrowser.lrs is not working - and I am lost -
Best way to check: install Lazarus 1.02 - load the source from your page - and compile - :) l
But I learned now a lot how to setup lazarus and this is somehow ... heavy to do but possible.

{$I pskbrowser.lrs}

tells me, that pskbrowser.lrs not found - hm. I am lost what to change now - maybe you can help :)

Der SöR said...

BTW: I tried to compile under WinXP, Win7 and Ubuntu ;)

Julian Moss said...

Please download the source zip file and try again. I recreated it a few days ago because the zip file was not correctly recreating a subdirectory.

Someone else has told me that they have compiled successfully using this new zip file.

Der SöR said...

Tahks - in the meantime I have compiled the programm using WinXP - great - but I learned a lot how complicated Lazarus can be :)

Thanks for the new file - I will check

Greetings and 73 de Peter DF1LX

P.s: I just test the AB4K AR Cluster client software - impressive best DX Cluster Software I found until today.